Bridgeworld Smol Tales and Other Adventures
Dust sparkled in those few rays of sunlight that dared pierce through the jungle canopy above, bathing the ancient stone archway in dancing gold. The air was still, silent but for the buzzing of insects, the occasional primal cries of a skirmish deep within the depths, and the muttering of three people stood arguing before the gateway.
“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” the first says angrily shaking their finger at the second. “We just need to step up and walk through the damn thing, what’s the worst that can happen?”
“Just step up and walk through? What’s the worst…” the second laughs incredulously. *“What we need to do is take our time and study the damn thing before we do anything stupid. Who knows, we may only get one shot at this! Hey,” the second turns to shout at the third, “be careful with that!”
“One shot at what?” The third says, continuing to poke around the edges of the gate with a stick. “It’s just a boring old gate, some ruin in the jungle. This is a waste of time.”
“You idiot,” the first and second respond in unison. Snarling at each other, the second says something about a jinx and implies that the other owes them a beverage.
“The manuscripts are clear and, what’s more, everything that old man told us has been spot on so far,” the first shoves the third away from the gate.
“The old man,” the third laughs. “You think that he and those villagers know anything? Do you think that they’re actually descended from guardians of a gateway to another dimension? No, he was just repeating folklore, stories to scare children away from the jungle and from getting eaten out here.”
The second pulls out a book, bulging with notes and maps, slamming it onto a makeshift table the group has made of a fallen tree. Paralyzed by indecision, lost in debate, the group does not notice the pair of monkeys raiding their provisions. The monkeys stifle laughter as they mimic the outsiders, stealing hats, wearing sunglasses, and even attempting to smoke their cigarettes.
The monkeys pause, however, as they sense the weight of the air around them grow heavy, the hair on their necks standing at attention. A blue light like the surface of water flickers into existence in the gate. Curious, the monkeys walk up to the light and, adorned with sunglasses and caps, step through. The light flashes, fades, and the air returns to normal with the group unaware.
“What the hell does proof of imagination mean, anyway?” The third shouts, exasperated.